Unilever steps up with $100m coronavirus war fund

doveUnilever has put many companies to shame by committing hard cash to the coronavirus war effort, pledging up to €100m (£85m) to prevent the spread of coronavirus through the donation of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food to help protect consumers and suppliers as well as its workforce.

The packaged goods giant, behind brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Hellmann’s, Magnum, Marmite, Wall’s, PG Tips, Dove, and Vaseline, is also offering to help cash-strapped small and medium-sized suppliers with a €500m (£425m) cashflow relief fund as well as extend credit lines for smaller retail customers.

Meanwhile, Unilever has also pledged to protect the pay of its 155,00 staff, in addition to contractors, for up to three months.

Product donations will be made to organisations on the frontline of the virus fight, including the Covid Action Platform of the World Economic Forum as well as to partnerships and education programmes conducted in conjunction with national health authorities and non-governmental organisations around the world.

Unilever boss Alan Jope said: “We are deeply saddened by the terrible impact that coronavirus is wreaking on lives and livelihoods everywhere. The world is facing its greatest trial in decades. We have seen the most incredible response from the Unilever team so far, especially those on the front line of our operations in factories, distribution centres and stores.

“We hope that our donation of €100m of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food will make a significant contribution towards protecting people’s lives and that by helping to safeguard our workers’ incomes and jobs, we are giving some peace of mind during these uncertain times. Our strong cashflow and balance sheet mean that we can, and should, give this additional support.”

Elsewhere, JPMorgan has said it will donate $50m ($42m) to groups and organisations that provide support and supplies to people affected by the coronavirus all over the world. British retailer Asda has committed £5m to two UK food bank charities. One of the richest companies in the world, Amazon, has so far donated just $1m (£850,000) between four US organisations.

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